BACKGROUND594x - Rdruw.net

madbrainedmudlickAI and Robotics

Oct 20, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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BACKGROUND


May 19.


Let’s begin with fundamentals, and perhaps things you already know.

1.
LANGUAGE MODULARITY
:

Language (oral and later, we presume, written as it develops) is “modular.” That is,
it “runs” in the brain separately from interference from other sensory data

other
incoming information doesn’t “interact” with linguistic stimuli. The human brain
has a
“preference” (we might consider it that) for linguistic data and runs it FAST,
SEPARATELY and as SPECIAL STATUS. (Language processing is like the fast lane on
a multi
-
lane expressway. Only the cars that are running in that lane can be in that
lane.) Bec
ause we are always concerned about what can go wrong, one thing that
can happen here is that non
-
linguistic data might interfere and cause “wrecks.”
Reading, as far as we know, enjoys the same special status as oral language vis
-
à
-
vis
processing. So read
ing is psychologically SEPARATE from non
-
linguistic routes.
(Not to be confused with what happens when readers comprehend

THEN we get
associations with many experiences and much prior knowledge

but the
getting
there

(from visual text TO comprehension) is
modular.


2.
“READING IS BOLTED ON”
(Maryanne Wolf

The Proust and the Squid
) Oral
language and written are learned differently. Oral is a natural consequence, it
would seem, of growing up human in a human linguistic community. Regardless of
how the 5

extant theories of language acquisition explain it, the bottom line is that
we

most of us

learn it with little fuss. Visual language is another matter entirely.
What actually gets mapped in the brain that supports reading

likewise what can
go wrong
--
de
pends, of course, on the nature of the visual symbol system in use.
There
are basically 3 different kinds of writing systems: pictographic (pictures of
real things, however abstracted they become over time), ideographic (abstract
symbols representing whol
es

things and ideas) and alphabetic

sound
-
symbol.
The first two come with their own problems

usually the monumental task facing
the learner

putting to memory thousands of visual characters, each one
representing something different. The slick thing about

the alphabetic design is the
mix and match character of it

to a point. Learn a handful of visual symbols and
match these to their respective sounds and voila. Of course, we all know the
difficulties associated with that

dialect, spelling, exceptions to
rules and the like.
In addition to that, though, we understand that sound
-
symbol “knowledge” mapped
into the brain in learning an alphabetic system, regardless of how regular the thing
is, (and English is devilishly irregular), constitutes a
whole new lay
er

of neuronal
development that actually
subverts

oral

or

it is, in fact, an artificial reality that we
create

when we teach reading. SO MUCH can go wrong.


Because we

adult teachers of reading

are readers, we already have all of
that neural machinery,
so we THINK that single symbols have sounds. We actually
HEAR those sounds. How many “sounds” can you HEAR in /cat/? 3?

In the

sound
system

there
might

be 2

there
might

be only 1. To make a reader, then, we have to
get kids to
hear things

that don’t ex
ist. (How can this be, we say? We HEAR it! Don’t
we? Actually, no. We don’t hear it. We have an intermediary neural network that
we
constructed

when we learned to read that allows us to hear sounds that are not
there. We have learned the alphabetic

principle

symbol = sound. And we
“hear”

3
separate sounds

or identify them

in /cat/ because
the letters tell us that there are
three sounds there and we make the letters into their respective sounds.

The
oral
language /cat/ doesn’t actually have those s
ounds

when we hear the oral /cat/ we
don’t process those sounds

we can only “hear” the letter sounds AFTER we learn
the letters and learn that letters have sounds. AH! HA! So we
bolt

this fiction on to
the real features of real spoken language. We tell k
ids that there are letter sounds in
words, because the letters are right there

so surely we can HEAR them, right? And
kids look at su with big trusting eyes

BUT they can’t hear what we tell them they
should hear. When they build that layer of sound
-
symb
ol stuff on top of their oral
language machinery, they can
hear letters

in words in which the sounds that the
letters
represent

are
not heard in speech.

Some kids have great difficulty

not with
sound
-
symbol

they get letter
-
sound correspondences

but with

the actual letter
sounds

in a spoken word in which those sounds don’t occur. Many many reading
difficulties boil down to this.


This new sound
-
symbol neural network that we construct does
not

represent
speech. It
reconfigures

speech to conform to the al
phabet. Bolted on. Artificial. A
fiction in sound.

Very difficult.


The next section is an explanation.


3.
PHONEME SEGMENTATION IN SPEECH

(We probably seem to be astray, here, b
ut to know what’s broke, we have to
understand how it works.)

There are 2

scanned attachments that go with this. 1. An article by Walt
er
McGinity. The essence of it

is that sounds in spoken words are articulated
simultaneously, not in sequence. We have

check the date

had this information
for over 30 years. The data are inc
ontrovertible. CV and VC units are
single
sounded
units that are NOT segmented into single (letter) sounds in speech.

McGinity talks
about how difficult this makes learning to read for kids. 2. The second is something
I wrote to try to explain what is
going on

why we don’t hear speech sounds
separately. The bottom line on that is that there are 3 layers of language mapping:
LAYER ONE is phonemes. Phonemes
are not accessible

as separate segments in
speech

nor are they when we read

we use the new bolte
d on network. LAYER
TWO is phoneme combinations

what we would call blends of one kind or another.
We segme
nt speech to LAYER TWO but not LAYER ONE, which means that we don’t
break blended sounds down into separate sounds in speech.

LAYER THREE is
recogn
izable CV and VC units.

CV and VC units combined into words are segmented
in speech.

When we teach letter
-
sound, we misunderstand what the letters represent.
We think that they represent phonemes in the sound system

speech. They don’t.
They represent t
he artificial sounds that we
teach

to support decoding of print.
Phonemes in the sound system are inaccessible psychologically. We need to
understand this, because if we don’t we will burden children with expectations for
what they should learn and be ab
le to do that can’t be met.

Kids who can segment to single letter

single sound

who can segment and
blend

have constructed that bolted on piece that allows them to
hear

single
sounds that don’t exist. Kids who don’t “get” the single sound
-
single symbol bit

probably understand it in principle

they just can’t
hear those single sounds

because we don’t ever really hear them.

And they don’t have that new memory that
permits them to hear what isn’t there.

About phonics, then. We really have only 2 ways of teac
hing sound
correspondences. We have a LEVEL ONE and a LEVEL TWO curriculum. LEVEL
ONE

most of our core programs

teaches single letter
-
single sound

segment and
blend. Basically, this curriculum is designed to map in that bolted on piece, so that
readers
can hear sounds that aren’t there. For some kids, this doesn’t work.

Enter
LEVEL TWO. The LEVEL TWO curriculum (“Linguistic Phonics.”) teaches
phonogram units

non
-
segmentable CV and VC units as wholes. The isolated sound
constructions are learned as i
nitial or final units attached to a CV or a VC to make
CVC’s. You recognize this

instead of /c/ /a/ /t/ linguistic phonics does /c/ /at/ or
/ca/ /t/.

One of the first diagnostics that we want to do i
s a LEVELS diagnostic.
Does your child comfortably segm
ent and blend single sounds? If your child is
struggling with this, we would surmise problems with being able to actually
hear

sounds in words when those sounds are not discriminated in speech.
The simplest way to deal with this, especially if the child
has been taught 1:1
(LEVEL ONE) is to immediately switch to linguistic phonics (LEVEL TWO.)
Many LEVEL ONE reading series employ little decodable readers that are
written as linguistic phonics readers. Nat is a cat. Nat is fat. Nat sat on the
mat. The

series themselves don’t
teach

the phonogram units (CV and VC), they
teach separate letters

separate sounds, then the kids
blend

into these rime
family groups. Man pan fan Dan ran can, etc. If you have a child who is
stuttering and spitting over /c/ /v/
/c/ decoding in rime family words, switch
to a linguistic phonic approach.


The word building
pieces

letter tiles or cards and rime cards

will give you a lot of information about what the child thinks about sound and
letter segments as well as hoe he or sh
e reads them. I send directions, I
believe. I will also send cut out pages. I almost always begin here.